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Archive for August, 2019

What Is Reckless Driving in Illinois?

August 28th, 2019 at 9:50 am

IL traffic violation attorney, IL defense lawyerIn early July, a Joliet man was charged with reckless driving, among other charges, and was placed in jail. Many people think reckless driving is a simple traffic violation, similar to being pulled over for speeding. However, in Illinois, reckless driving is a very serious charge. It could even lead to jail time. So, what is reckless driving in Illinois, and what are the possible penalties?

Reckless Driving in Illinois Defined

Illinois statute 625 ILCS 5/11-503 provides a few definitions for reckless driving. The first is operating a vehicle in such a way that shows a complete disregard for the safety of other people. Under this statute, reckless driving is also defined as using an incline, such as a hill, railroad crossing, or bridge approach, to cause a vehicle to become airborne.

While these are very dramatic and somewhat obvious definitions of reckless driving, there is another that many Illinois drivers are unaware of. This is when a motorist drives a vehicle 35 miles per hour over the posted speed limit.

Penalties for Reckless Driving

Most reckless driving charges are considered a Class A misdemeanor, including driving 35 mph over the speed limit. The penalty for this crime is up to one year in county jail.

Charges of reckless driving are upgraded to aggravated reckless driving under certain circumstances. If the reckless driving occurred in a school zone and a crossing guard or minor child became hurt, a person will likely face upgraded charges. This is a Class 4 felony that carries a possible sentence of up to three years in state prison.

When reckless driving causes any person great bodily harm or permanent disfigurement, the accused will also face charges of aggravated reckless driving. This is considered a Class 3 felony with a possible penalty of up to five years in state prison.

Defenses to Reckless Driving

After being charged with reckless driving, many people are surprised to learn of the severe consequences they face. However, it is not the hopeless situation it seems and there are defenses available.

In order to obtain a conviction, the prosecution must prove a person willfully, or intended to, drive recklessly. Intent is very difficult to prove, including in reckless driving cases. This is a very common defense used in reckless driving cases.

In reckless driving cases specifically, the prosecution must also present a Bill of Particulars. This document specifically outlines the actions of the driver that resulted in a reckless driving charge. These actions include swerving in between lanes, excessively speeding, or otherwise acting recklessly. If, after reviewing the Bill of Particulars, a judge determines there is no case, they will dismiss it and the prosecution must drop the charges. This is another very common defense used when facing reckless driving charges.

Charged with Reckless Driving? Contact an Illinois Criminal Defense Lawyer

Many people do not think reckless driving is a serious offense. Unfortunately, to law enforcement and the courts it is, and can have real consequences for those convicted. If you have been charged with reckless driving, do not treat it like a minor traffic violation. There is too much at stake. Contact our skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. We will create a solid defense for you and give you the best chance of a successful outcome. Call us today at 847-394-3200 to schedule your free consultation.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/073500050K2-607.htm

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/07/09/joliet-man-charged-with-dui-reckless-driving-charges/a9ky8l3/

What Are Defenses to Domestic Violence in Illinois?

August 21st, 2019 at 9:53 am

IL defense attorney, IL domestic violense attorney Domestic violence is a problem in Illinois and all across the country. As such, the states have enacted strict laws to protect victims of domestic violence. In Illinois, one such law is the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986. This law allows protections and remedies for victims, but sometimes it is used inappropriately. Not everyone accused of or charged with domestic violence is guilty. Unfortunately, even when that is the case, juries tend to sympathize with the victim.

For this reason, anyone facing charges must speak to a Rolling Meadows domestic violence attorney that can build them a solid defense. Some of the defenses most commonly used in domestic violence cases are below.

Self-Defense

Self-defense is one of the most common defenses used in domestic violence cases. Sometimes two people in a household may argue to the point that one becomes aggressive and violent. Even if they do not physically touch the other person, they may throw things or otherwise threaten harm. When this is the case, Illinois law allows a certain amount of force if you are defending yourself or your property. As such, self-defense is a very solid argument for domestic violence charges.

Being Falsely Accused

Arguments in a household can become very heated. Sometimes, they become so heated that one party becomes revengeful and wants to hurt the other person, not physically, but with other consequences. They may call the police and allege domestic violence is taking place. Or, one party may have thought the other was becoming violent when they were not. Again, if the police are called, they may lay domestic violence charges even if the situation had not become violent.

Domestic violence cases are often a case of one person’s word against another’s. These situations tend to happen behind closed doors and with no witnesses. Due to this, it becomes very difficult to determine who is telling the truth. Law enforcement, juries, and judges may automatically favor the victim. For this reason, it is important to raise arguments that contradict the accuser’s story. Perhaps the accused was not even present in the home, or maybe the victim’s story is inconsistent. These arguments raise a good defense in domestic violence cases.

Lack of Proof

In order for the prosecution’s case to be successful, they must present sufficient proof that domestic violence took place. In criminal cases, the prosecution has a very strict burden to prove the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Again, because domestic violence often takes place behind closed doors, this is difficult. The victim’s word is not enough to garner a conviction.

Charged with Domestic Violence? Call a Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense Attorney for Help

If you are facing charges of domestic violence, you likely feel as though the situation is hopeless. It is not. There are many defenses available to these charges, and a skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney can help you determine which one is right for your case. At the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, we know that not every argument is a case of domestic violence, and we are committed to helping those that are innocent retain their freedom. Call us today at 847-394-3200 for your free consultation so we can start reviewing your case.

 

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=2100

Defenses to Retail Theft

August 16th, 2019 at 9:51 am

IL shoplifting lawyer, IL defense attorneyIn May, a woman was sentenced to four years in prison after being convicted of stealing pillowcases from the Mattoon Walmart on July 4 of last year. Her charge was upgraded from a misdemeanor to a felony due to past convictions. No agreement between the defense and prosecution could be reached regarding her sentencing after she pleaded guilty.

The penalty was a harsh one, and one many people face when they are accused of retail theft. Some people face worse. It is because of this that when a person is facing charges of retail theft, they often imagine the worst. However, if you have been charged, it is important to understand there are defenses available.

Lawful Ownership

It is not uncommon for people to shop at the same store time and time again. When they have visited a store in the past and purchased something, they often return to the same store with the same product. The store owner or staff may see the item and accuse a person of retail theft, even though they had purchased it in the past.

Lack of Intent

Sometimes, people shop for many things at one time. Things become cluttered and a person may not realize they still have an unpaid item in the bottom of their cart, or elsewhere that is not readily visible. Upon leaving the store, the store owner or staff may accuse them of trying to steal the item, even though the individual had no intent to do so.

Impaired Mental State

If a person is under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time they are accused, it could provide the defense that they did not understand they were committing a crime. This sometimes goes hand in hand with lack of intent. For example, someone that is drunk is much likelier to forget they are holding something in their hand when they leave a store than a sober person is.

Additionally, if someone suffers from a mental disability, the defendant can argue they were not aware they were committing a crime.

Mistaken Identity

Like any other crime, sometimes store owners, staff, and law enforcement simply get it wrong and charge the wrong person. This often happens in retail theft cases. Store owners or staff see someone steal an item and follow them into a shopping center or parking lot where there are many people nearby. Sometimes they simply mistake the identity of an innocent person for someone that stole something from them. When the only evidence in these cases is the store owner’s word against the accused, law enforcement may lay charges.

Call a Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense Attorney for Help with Your Case

Retail theft is taken very seriously in Illinois, and can carry very harsh sentences for those convicted. If you have been charged, you need the help of an experienced Rolling Meadows theft attorney. At the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, we know not everyone accused of a crime is guilty. After reviewing your case, we will prepare a solid defense for you to give you the best chance of a positive outcome. Call us today at 847-394-3200 or fill out our online form for your free consultation.

 

Sources:

https://jg-tc.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/woman-gets-years-in-prison-for-stealing-pillow-cases-from/article_f561050f-2cf9-5e35-b8e7-1505bb441453.html

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=072000050HArt.+16,+Subdiv.+10&ActID=1876&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=39600000&SeqEnd=40100000

 

Traffic Ticket FAQs

August 7th, 2019 at 9:48 am

IL traffic ticket attorneyAny time someone is pulled over for a traffic ticket, they have many questions. Will they have to go to court? Will they lose their license? Is traffic safety school an option? These are just a few of the most common questions criminal defense attorneys in Rolling Meadows are asked every day. The answers to them, and to other frequently asked questions about traffic tickets, are below.

What Should I Do if I Am Pulled Over?

If you are pulled over, it is best to cooperate with police. Turn off your engine and radio, and keep your hands visible. Do not reach for your driver’s license or insurance information until the officer asks to see them. Remain calm and friendly, and do not argue with the officer.

Do not admit guilt, even if the officer asks if you know why they pulled you over. The officer could be recording your response so they can use it against you later in court. Cooperate fully and, if the officer issues a traffic ticket, contact an attorney.

Do I Need an Attorney for a Traffic Ticket?

For certain offenses, such as driving over 26 miles per hour the posted speed limit, you will absolutely need an attorney to represent you in court. Sometimes though, even minor traffic offenses will require an attorney, depending on the facts of your case, such as if you have several points on your license already. After receiving any traffic ticket, you should call an attorney that can advise you of your legal options.

Will I Have to Go to Court?

Your traffic ticket will state whether you have to attend court for the offense. In most cases, drivers only have to appear if a conviction will result in jail time or an automatic license suspension. However, mailing in payment for the offense is considered a guilty plea. This is entered onto your public driving record, which can place you at risk for suspension in the future. As such, you may choose to go to court to fight the ticket, even if you are not required to.

Will I Lose My License?

In Illinois, drivers over the age of 21 that receive convictions for three moving violations in the span of one year will likely have their license suspended. Drivers under the age of 21 must only have two convictions for moving violations over the course of two years to have their license suspended. Certain offenses include penalties of automatic license suspension. These offenses include passing a stopped school bus or failing to yield to an emergency vehicle.

Will My Auto Insurance Rates Increase?

If you are convicted of a traffic violation, your auto insurance rates will likely increase. The amount they increase will depend on the nature of the situation and the offense you received the ticket for. If the ticket is dismissed, you are placed on court supervision, or are found not guilty, the offense is not made part of your public driving record. As such, your auto insurance rates will not increase.

Is Traffic Safety School an Option?

Individuals with a clean driving record are sometimes placed on court supervision and given the opportunity to attend traffic safety school. This is a good option, as you will not be convicted of the offense, and the ticket will not appear on your public driving record. As such, you will be less likely to lose your license in the future, and your insurance rates will not increase. While you may be able to request traffic safety school by mail, these cases are most successful when you appear in court to make the request.

Contact an Illinois Criminal Defense Lawyer for Help with Your Ticket

Getting a traffic ticket does not sound like a major event to many. However, under certain circumstances, traffic tickets can have a very detrimental impact on those that receive them. If you have received a ticket and are worried about losing your license or have to appear in court, you must speak with our skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyers today. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at 847-394-3200 or contact us online for your free consultation. We will help prepare you for court and give you the best chance of keeping your license.

 

Sources:

https://www.einsurance.com/insurance-guide/illinois/auto-insurance/

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=062500050HCh.+6+Art.+II&ActID=1815&ChapterID=49&SeqStart=85500000&SeqEnd=87500000

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